The Radavist’s 10 Favorite Products of 2014


Look, none of us are exactly stoked on how consumer driven our world is. It should be about the ride, or the experience you get from being on a bike with friends, not who has the newest product or component. Yet, unfortunately to some, it is. To some extent anyway. Over here at the Radavist, we’re aware of this conundrum, but we’ll always try to steer you in the right direction when it comes to products. Remember, buy local when you can! You’re local bike shop needs you.

Check out some of our favorite products of 2014 below. Just try not to end up with an empty wallet, ok?


WTB 700c 40mm NANO Tires

These tires completely changed the way I ride and race my cyclocross bike. It went from feeling like a road bike with slightly larger tires to a mountain bike with slightly smaller tires. They even set up tubeless just fine (WTB’s tubeless version is out in January).


Spurcycle’s Made in the USA Bell

It’s amazing how something so small and simple can bring the most excitement. Bells are something every cyclist should use. From alerting joggers on the trail, to signaling stoke, the Spurcycle does all that and it’s 100% made in the USA.

Porcelain Rocket's Mr. Fusion Seat Bag

Porcelain Rocket’s Mr. Fusion Seat Pack

The Mr. Fusion Seat Pack is a collaboration between Scott of Porcelain Rocket and Rick Hunter. A seat pack that won’t sway, or jostle all over the place during your bikepacking expedition or S24 camping trip. 100% made by hand by dudes who give a shit.


The Rock Shox PIKE

For everything from a 120mm XC machine to a 150mm trail bike, the Pike has really impressed, on all accounts. For some reason, the usual technical jargon doesn’t seem right, all we can say is that it takes a lickin’ and keeps on tricking.


PAUL Components Quick Release

PAUL recently re-issued its first product ever: the Quick Release. They’re machined in Chico, California and when they’re in stock, they’re perfect accessories for any cyclist. Coming in 2015: anodized colors!


Kitsbow Icon Flannel

Flannels are staple attire for cycling. The problem is, most aren’t meant for on-the-bike movement. Kitsbow takes care of that with their made in the USA Icon Flannel. It’s even got those “rough rider” patches for the ever-looming #RubberSideUp moments on the trail.


SRAM Force CX1

For some reason, this one product brings out the critiques and naysayers, who swear by piecing together a number of components to get a similar product. Look, the total package of this group changed cyclocross bikes and it’s not necessarily about your bike, but the equipment that will be available on completes. We’ve never felt a more smooth group from SRAM. Well, when it’s covered in mud, anyway!


Blackburn’s Tallboy Cage

Products don’t necessarily have to be innovative, or crazy expensive to make our list of favorite products. The Blackburn Tallboy Cage holds those high-volume beverages that make your favorite ride all that more enjoyable.

ACRE Hauser Hydration Pack

ACRE Hauser Pack

Made in Colorado, from durable materials and available in two sizes, not to mention multiple colors, the ACRE Hauser pack took us from Switzerland to the French Alps and the Great Dividing Range in Australia. Part hydration, part portage. ACRE’s flagship bag is bound to impress.


Giro’s VR90 MTB Shoes

Not having to worry about slipping down rocks or that run up in a cross race is nice. Having the comfort of lace-up closure is even better. When they’re both combined, you’ve got a winner. Giro’s VR90 shoes made our trail rides and cross races all that more enjoyable this year.

  • david
  • barry mcwilliams

    Once that QR is avail in pink, I’m all over it!

    And yeah, that bell is too much fun for such a little thing. Love mine.

    Those shoes though…Those are my dream item.

  • Corbin Walis

    I’m not writing this to harsh your mellow but why do you bother playing lipservice to the idea that “none of us are exactly stoked on how consumer driven our world is”? I mean you do make a living promoting a consumer driven lifestyle right? Sure there is travel and adventure in between but when it comes down to it the big players in the cycling word like seem to be footing the bill in exchange for making their products look desirable and cool. I understand that everyone has to make a living (I work in the regular old ad industry) and I think you’ve carved yourself out a great niche and I can’t say that I’m not a little jealous but…cognitive dissonance much?

    Giving you a hard time aside, the WTB nano 40 is an awesome tire :) It’s also a really smart design being so much taller than a tire it’s width would normally be. This makes the tire much more able to fit a regular cross bike and not need a frame designed around it as a rock’n’road does.

    • Patrick Murphy

      I’d like to think that the Radavist makes a living promoting a cycling-driven lifestyle above all….and seeing that the primary element of that aside from the rider is, yes, a product (the bike) there is bound to be a role that products play into the promotion of that lifestyle. But you’d be crazy to think that the balance of content on this site is tipped more towards materialism than the adventure. The fact that the site has the conscience to mention consumerism in a negative light ahead of a curated list of toys is kinda weird, but at least it’s genuine.

      When the products come into play, I’d also like to think that there’s no better way to do it that how John does it. He’s my conscience when it comes to where my money goes. He’s the reason I put down a deposit on a steel frame this year. He’s the reason I’m at my LBS every week now instead of web-surfing for cheap components. In my mind, promoting the purchase of domestic goods is almost as noble a cause as promoting cycling itself.

      • Corbin Walis

        It’s true that the balance of content on the site is tilted towards adventure more than overt materialism but what I’m saying is that most of the adventure portrayed on the site is in some way in service of cycling companies. Usually not companies that make actual bikes since there isn’t that much money in that. It’s the accessory (bags, shoes what have you) companies that tend to be footing the bill. I’m not saying I wouldn’t go on a trip if Giro or mission workshop or someone company footed the bill but just trying to point out that this site and others are mostly a form of advertising even when it isn’t overt.

        • Corbin Walis

          All that said I still read and enjoy the site, I just try to conscious of what it is.

          • John Watson

            I’d love to hear how you define it…

          • Darren McElroy

            You just try to be conscious of what it is? You’re not even listening to what John has to say! You’re going to have to try harder than that, my friend. I had an actual conversation with John in Austin recently about this very topic. I was blown away by the integrity with which he runs the site, and I can assure you that he keeps it more real than you can even conceive with your “regular old ad industry” perspective. This is an entirely different realm. Keep up the good work John!

        • John Watson

          weird. I’ll send you an ad sheet right now… All it says is, you buy the space, not the content. Is that a foreign concept? How do you operate your business? Do you operate your business? Or does someone else? So how can you asses how I operate mine?

    • charlesojones

      Lots of older, time tested designs are featured here quite regularly. Not exactly what I’d expect from someone whose focus is promoting a consumer driven lifestyle.

    • John Watson

      You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

      • Raoul Morley

        Jon has given what seems to have been genuine product feedback, so much so that I’ve gotten the courage to move away from set products to his recommendation indirectly through the blog.
        The Terraduro’s and the Nano’s have both been ace great all round shoes and tyres for bumming round Hackney Marshes and pubs near and far.
        The photo stories have been lush and the fun of riding bikes has been enough to make me want to actually do that again, especially the confidence that every ride doesn’t need to be epic!
        Chapeau and more of the same in 2015 please, this year has been ace.

    • Philip Kim

      John features products he uses and believes in, pretty evident in the photosets. 2015, hate less if the goal.

      I have the 26″ WTB 2.1 to replace my 1.75 Paselas on my Camargue. Awesome tires. Rolls almost as fast for my 20 mi commute from DC to VA, but also don’t have to swap tires out when I go on some singletrack. Treads are also pretty nice and seems to allow slower wearing down of the tires.

      Also +1 possibilities of CX1 brings to complete bikes. I switched to 1×9 friction with Wolftooth on my Sugino XD2 mated M772 RD last year. Had to use spacers and switch bottom brackets a couple of times to get a better chainline. Only lost chain once, but would’ve been nice to just buy a set that is made to work together.

  • D0rk

    Pretty much a list of stuff I want. I’ll probably get a set of tubeless Nano’s when they come out, I definitely want to try a pair of lace up Giros, I wish I could justify a long travel fork so I could own a Pike, and I really want a CX1 kit with an 11-36 for my cross bike.

  • Sretsok

    One of those Hauser’s is on my want list for sure.

  • Tommaso Gomez

    Does anyone have experience with the tubeless Specialized Trigger 38c? Is that the only legit tubeless gravel option?

    • Nick Valdes

      They’re are plenty that work tubeless even if not designated ‘tubeless.’ At this point I’ve had luck with far more tires than not. Could be coincidence but I find that especially true with the wider the tire and rim bed.

      • John Watson

        The Nano works the best in the 38mm – 40mm range. I love that tire!

        • Tommaso Gomez

          Thanks, I’ll try the Nano TCS version in January.

        • Ian Stone

          Do you mean psi?

          • John Watson

            I mean in the tires available in the 38mm-40mm range, I like the Nano the best.

      • Tommaso Gomez

        Yeah, I’m inclined to try those experimental setups for cross or shorter rides. On long gravel rides, I’m worried about burping a tire, not being able to get to reseal, and getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. I hope we get more designated tubeless options in 2015 so that there’s less guess work.

        • Nick Valdes

          Just carry a tube…no different than a mtd setup.

    • Ian Stone

      The Challenge Gravel Grinder 700-38c tire is super beefy and I would bet comes in a tubeless version soon.

    • Frank Stec

      I am currently rocking the Clement MSO xplor 40 up front and the 38 trigger in the rear.
      Trigger is a pretty great tire, too. Seems to roll pretty well on pavement, and is at home on gravel/dirt roads. Like any tire in this realm, it is about as good as a file tread once it turns to mud.
      Running both tubeless, too, even though the clement doesn’t say it is able/supposed to.

  • Dustin Roth

    PAUL’s QR are amazing. They don’t make you faster but damn they make any bike look even better.

  • Nick Valdes

    Those nanos are intriguing. Any follow up now that you’ve spent more time with the knard? I don’t know that my cx rig could handle the extra 1mm width of the knard but it appeals to me.

    • John Watson

      I honestly haven’t had a great experience with the Knard yet.

      • Nick Valdes

        Any particular gripe?

        • John Watson

          In general, it feels like a Novatek error. Tread separation, multiple flats, and poor mud performance. No worse than any other $25-$30 tire and truthfully, it’s so hit or miss that I’m not sure it’s the tire’s design, but it’s not nearly as reliable as the Nano.

          • Zach Kahl

            I agree on this one. I got a sidewall split due to faulty stitching in a 700c/3.0″ 3 days into riding my ECR. They are actually made by Innova (not sure if that is what you were trying to say, John, when you stated “Novatek”), who got rid of any kind of quality control 3 years ago. Surly was excellent as usual with their customer service and replaced it, no questions asked, with a new tire that i put a pencil sized stick through two weeks later. Not much should be expected of them.

            As for wasting my time with the opening statement about our world being “consumer driven” I will be as short winded as possible. Let’s face it, this site is 80-something% selling for companies that already have more than enough money for marketing spending and you hop on the coattails for that; sometimes leaving a wake of shit behind you. Specialized? Local Bike Shop? Not very often used in the same sentence. Just another exercise in waxing poetic by the cool guy of cycling himself, John Prolly Watson.

    • Broken and Coastal

      I left my Nanos in Portland but picked some 40c Clement Xplors to ride some NYC single track while I am here. Stoked on them so far.

    • Ian Stone

      I use them for larger gravel rides and dicking around the city. They roll fast on the pavement and have a lot of cushion on gravel. I’d say the tread is a little soft though. After one 80 mile gravel ride on the chunkier stuff, they were shredding in a few spots. I’d still buy another set though.

  • Corbin Walis

    Guess all my comments on this got deleted. Sorry my email on this account had stopped working. I changed it to one that works again.

    • John Watson

      They’re still there. Disqus gets buggy when anonymous comments are turned off and invalid (fake) emails are used. Honestly, I thought your initial comment was a bit shitty, but whatever.

  • fiddleback Snyder

    Wut kind uv wallet iz dat?

    • John Watson

      Tanner Goods

  • L.A. Dave

    Always enjoyable reading your year end and holiday lists. Gives me too many bad ideas of spending more money than I should (especially since you always list things I can actually afford…). Lucky enough to own 2 of the products here: The Empires (albeit the original version) and the Spurcycle bell. They are essential parts of both my cross and my MTB gear sets nowadays. Happy New Year!

  • Magnetic Wheel Co.

    Here here! Miss you Tyler!

    Haappy Celebrah!

  • Ian Stone

    I bought 3/10 of these this year. I’d say you’re a pretty big influence on the stuff we want.

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    This. Lots of stuff John promotes happens to be from brands that he cultivates an actual friendship with. It’s not just smiles for the camera…he rides what he likes, and he likes the people who manufacture (often by hand) the things he rides. Tyler is one of these folks. I miss him, and I hope to get an invite to any upcoming shred missions!

  • Carson

    I have a Spur Cycle bell on my old Parlee Z2 and it’s hard to describe how much I like it. I even ring it on the rollers, to ward off the misery.

  • Ultra_Orange

    Paul QR, the only time they steal your skewers and leave the wheels.

  • Wakatel Lu’um

    Can anyone advise how the Blackburn cage compares to King cages…?

    • Matt O’Donnell

      King Cage doesn’t make a comparable product.

      • skunk ape

        I still put cans of beer in them…